Thursday, March 30, 2006


'Scammed by my internet lover".
Ghanaian Robert Adda, 35, told the BBC News website how he got scammed on the internet while searching for love.

Robert wonders if his so-called friend ever existed I was scammed two years ago, via the internet, by a woman I thought was pushing me into love. Initially she wasn't too ambitious to meet me. She just wanted to build a friendship, it seemed and so we exchanged photographs and communicated by email. A few months went by and as time passed our intimacy increased. Not a day went by without us being in contact. I was single at the time and was looking to have a relationship. I didn't think it would lead to what it did. I believe that she preyed upon my wish to find love. She started talking to me about us being together, physically. She was living in the US and I in Ghana. But I explained that I didn't have immediate plans of travelling, and because I was working, it would be difficult for me to travel any time soon.

Everyone should know that free things can turn out to be the most expensive - Sophia Malinga, Kampala, Uganda.

She understood but then as time went by she started being pushy - continuing to say that if I loved her then I would find a way to be with her so that we could stay together. She then introduced me to a programme called WRAHA which I think she said stood for West African Refugee and Humanitarian Authority or something like that. Initially I objected. I didn't want to be a part of it. It was devious and dishonest and purely, I really didn't want to travel abroad - that was my major thing. But as I discussed it with friends they encouraged me to try. There were actually a lot of people who wanted to give it a go. Even someone I know who had been previously been a victim to a similar scam wanted to try.

He told me that these matters were all down to luck and if you were lucky then you would succeed. For months afterwards I had to manage on very little money. I had to use all my savings We were not lucky, my friends and I. We were tricked into making advance payments for emigrating to the US. We paid a number of fees ranging between $110 and $346 as our applications progressed from one stage to the next. Each time we were told that time was limited, because of deadlines, and so there were only a few hours to get our payment through. This deadline rush ended up being our trigger to suspect that something was not right.

Sitting together and thinking and we all concluded that we'd been scammed. My friends were disappointed, like me, but they were not angry with me. They knew that I was not the one who collected their money and they knew that it had been a risk. I never heard from my so-called friend in the US once I told her that it was not going to be possible to continue making all the payments. That was when our relationship came to an end. I wonder if she ever even existed. I was really disappointed in myself for having got involved in such things. I couldn't be angry though. Instead I took as a lesson and put it down to a bad experience.

For months afterwards I had to manage on very little money. I had to use all my savings and start again from scratch. If she actually existed and something more had happened then I would have felt heartbroken, instead I felt as though someone had played with me. I am sorry that I allowed someone to play with me like that. The reason these terrible scammers get away with their troublemaking is because people are not satisfied with what they have. Unfortunately, people's wish to travel abroad keeps these groups going. I know some people who have fallen for these tricks not just once but twice, even thrice.


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